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Arguments on the California Supreme Court April 2020 Schedule

03/18/2021--April will mark the one-year anniversary of the court’s first remote arguments. Like 2020’s April calendar and all calendars since, and for the foreseeable future, this April’s arguments will be remote and based in San Francisco. On April 7, the court will hear the following cases (with the issue presented as summarized by court staff or stated by the court itself):

In re Friend: In September 2019, the court granted review in this capital habeas corpus case to resolve some questions about how Proposition 66 works. Proposition 66, which the court mostly upheld in 2017, is the 2016 ballot measure designed to expedite executions in California. The court limited the issues in Friend to: “(1) Is the dismissal of a condemned inmate’s habeas corpus petition pursuant to Penal Code section 1509, subdivision (d) an appealable order and subject to the requirement of obtaining a certificate of appealability under Penal Code section 1509.1, subdivision (c), which applies to the ‘decision of the superior court denying relief on a successive petition’?; (2) What is the meaning of the term ‘successive petition’ in Penal Code section 1509, subdivision (d), and is the habeas corpus petition at issue a successive petition?; (3) If the habeas corpus petition at issue is a successive petition within the meaning of the statute, can the statutory provisions governing such petitions be applied to this petition when petitioner’s first habeas corpus petition was filed before the statutes took effect (see, e.g., Landgraf v. USI Film Products (1994) 511 U.S. 244, 269-270)?”


People v. Ollo: Did the deceased victim’s voluntary ingestion of fentanyl furnished by the defendant in the belief that it was cocaine support imposition of an enhancement for the personal infliction of great bodily injury (Pen. Code, § 12022.7, subd. (a))? The court granted review in March 2020.


People v. Garcia and People v. Valencia: In July 2020, the court un-held the two cases and ordered the parties to brief: “Does gang expert testimony regarding uncharged predicate offenses to establish a ‘pattern of criminal gang activity’ under Penal Code section 186.22, subdivision (e) constitute background information or case-specific evidence within the meaning of People v. Sanchez (2016) 63 Cal.4th 665? Was any error prejudicial?” The cases had been waiting for the court’s February 2020 decision in People v. Perez, which held the defendant had not waived raising a Sanchez issue. The court seems in a hurry on these matters: besides that, the un-hold order is fairly recent, the court sent an oral argument letter before the reply briefs were filed and calendared the cases today with time still remaining for the parties to respond to an amicus brief.


People v. Battle:This is an automatic direct appeal from a September 2003 judgment of death. The court’s website does not list issues for death penalty appeals. Counsel was appointed in December 2007. Briefing was completed in December 2015.

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